Caesar!!

caesar

I LOVE Caesar salad.  When Lynne and I were starting the Arbor Cafe back in the early 1990’s we were kind of at the leading edge of the Caesar revival locally, and our first “original” cafe recipe was our own take on Caesar dressing.  But that was then and now is now and the NYTimes food section this week had a re-imagined Caesar that added kale and used a poached egg in the dressing.

I was intrigued with this recipe as the raw egg in the dressing of an original Caesar salad was a sticking point with the Health Department and some customers…though “back in the day” if you ordered a Caesar salad, the waiter came to your table with a cart on which were the salad greens, an egg, a cruet of olive oil, garlic and a lemon which he then whisked into a dressing, carefully placing the whole anchovy strips atop the salad.  I have this on good authority as R, in his early days, was waiter at the Coeur d’Alene Country Club at Hayden Lake, Idaho, and learned this process.

First though, the greens.  Romaine is the traditional choice, but this recipe adds kale for currency…and it’s good.  I read about their suggested preparation of the greens taking great care and adjusted accordingly.  I used romaine hearts and curly kale.

romaine-kale

I washed and dried the greens in the morning, placing them on a sheet pan with a bag of ice on it, then greens and then covered with a dish towel, and put them in the fridge.  The goal here is DRY and COLD.  By dinner time they were perfect.

The dressing.  We learned at the Arbor Cafe NOT to put the lovely anchovy strips atop the salad as people picked them off and left them on the plate so we sneakily blended them into the dressing so the salad would have the salty delicious anchovy taste but would not confront the customers with the (apparently) horrifying hairy fishes.  In the NYTimes version all the ingredients are put in a blender or blended with a hand blender (my choice) and the poached egg (poached in the microwave) was added last.  Short aside…my Moulinix turbo is an indispensable tool in this kitchen…

turbo

the dressing:

2 cloves garlic

4-6 anchovies

i tsp. Dijon mustard

2 TBLSP freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

fresh ground pepper and sea salt to taste

1 poached egg

I put everything but the egg in a glass measuring cup and blended it up…adding the oil last.  To poach the egg in the microwave crack it into a glass measuring cup, add warm water to cover by 1/2 inch and then in bursts of 30 seconds, microwave until egg white is firm and yolk is still runny, drain water, add egg to dressing and blend.

I made my own croutons by taking out the inside of a loaf of pugliese in the morning, tearing the bread into bite sized pieces and letting the bread dry.  Late in the afternoon I baked the now dry bread with a little olive oil and sea salt for about 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees.

I got out my Mom’s mid-century Dansk teak salad bowl…

my Mom's bowl

dressed the salad, sprinkled with shredded parmesan and…DELICIOUS!  Give it a try…

caesar

 

 

7 Comments

  1. You are sooo smart. I want to share my Caesar dressing one day…not so different. It came from the owners of Jake’s.

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Great tip about setting the greens on a bag of ice. Love the dressing….can’t wait to try it! Thanks! And your photos were mouth watering.

  3. Hi Bonnie, out of town with grandchildren for the week and just read your Caesar email….may I copy it at Farm Food and name it in your honor? Love your crouton method.. The non square eye appeal and texture is very rustic and would allow more surface for the dressing. Yum! And the coarse chop with iced kale is a new one, too.

    Did you receive my last check on your front door last week?

    Your email re State Street “renewal” made me want to weep!

    Talk soon, Sally

    Sent from the Miller’s iPad

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  4. Have to admit that in addition to my longtime enjoyment of Caesar salads. especially at the Arbor Cafe which I still miss, one of my proofreading pleasures over the years
    has been noting how often Caesar is misspelled on menus. It’s embarrassing to admit that my impression of a restaurant is based to some extent on this.

    OK, it’s even more fun to proofread a really bad menu……we have family contests
    to find the most errors while waiting to give our orders. Hey, it ain’t easy being perfect but it’s sure entertaining…..

  5. Hi Bonnie, It was fun to introduce your two recipes to the High Desert crowd. Cake was v. popular ­ I had hoped to have left overs. It traveled well. But, when it first appeared on the table ­ our Jeff said, ³where¹s the drizzle?² I think it held its own without. With careful prep at home and transportation ­ the Caesar made a wonderful display. Everyone wanted to know about the croutons! Delicious! And again, thanks for your coaching. xoellen

    From: On The Way Reply-To: On The Way Date: Saturday, April 2, 2016 at 9:12 AM To: Ellen Stevens Subject: [New post] Caesar!!

    WordPress.com bonniehull posted: ” I LOVE Caesar salad. When Lynne and I were starting the Arbor Cafe back in the early 1990’s we were kind of at the leading edge of the Caesar revival locally, and our first “original” cafe recipe was our own take on Caesar dressing. But that was the”

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